This week’s section was, admittedly, rather short. 1200 words per scene has been my goal ever since NaNoWriMo, and that’s worked out well for me. Yesterday, however, when Ann said, “You just sit back and relax and I’ll take care of everything.” It was as if the characters were saying, “Hey, that’s enough.”
The original purpose of this arc was to allow Michael and Terrin to find their way back into the spotlight. The moment Merkot showed up in the elevator, though, they got upstaged once again. Oh well, at least they get to muse about his purposes.
Michael is correct in his assumption, mostly. Merkot was sending a message to Satal. And yet, it wasn’t anything she didn’t already know. It’s partly why Jeremy has been given two personal guards, just in case Merkot decides to take Jeremy on a detour to find out more about him.
At the same time, the warning is also for Jeremy. He is not as safe as he might think he is. Neither Satal’s political power nor Walter’s moral strength can keep him entirely out of Merkot’s reach. Unfortunately for him, this part of the message mostly failed. Not because Jeremy was unnerved, but because he’s largely unaware of how politics are played in The Ravine. He simply doesn’t know how to hear it. Merkot assumes Jeremy has heard the message loud and clear, but is woefully ignorant of Jeremy’s true origin. This is a good thing. If Merkot were aware, he’d probably have been targeted for death 1.
Sheilak and the guards, on the other hand, know exactly how to read what the senator was trying to convey. And each of them decides to keep the matter to themselves. Jeremy, after all, has enough to worry about. Is Jeremy in danger? At the moment, not really. Merkot is hoping to show Jeremy his grand senatorial powers, thinking it’ll be easier to sway or frighten him to his side. Right now, Jeremy is simply an unknown player who could hold a great deal of influence, and Merkot wants access to his potential.
The Hair Stylists
For me, one of the appeals of The Valleys is the mix of “normal” with “fantasy.” There are monsters, people walk instead of ride in cars, it has guards instead of police, cities exist under ground, and magic exists. At the same time, something as normal as a hair stylist’s shop exists. It seems like fun mix.
We’ll see why the “normal” exists in this world as we continue on the journey. For now, it’s fun to see it pop up every so often.
- Then we’d really see Sheilak unleashed. ↩